Steps to Secure Your Wireless LAN

By: Gavin Sanderson

It is the duty of technology not only to improve itself, butto become more and more user friendly. We can see this happen within the everevolving sphere of Wireless LAN connections. Here the only constant is the easyto install, plug and play hardware which is well complimented by simple userfriendly software. One only has to plug in the device to explore the network oreven the Internet, however, Wireless LAN connections are often vulnerable tohackers or even virus threats. These malicious entities try to infiltrate thenetwork and destroy important data. Then again, there is good news for allthose people who wish to secure their Wireless LAN connections. Now you canenjoy the benefits of a protected Wireless LAN experience for less than ahundred dollars.

The first step after installing the hardware is to work outthe configuration best suited for your network. Pay close attention to thesecurity settings in particular and do not enable the Wireless LAN before youhave everything in place and configured. After all, it is better to be safethan sorry. There are a few safety precautions one can adopt after setting upthe Wireless LAN network.

Let us begin with the router and the access points. Werecommend that you deploy an administrator password to reinforce and bolsteraccess routes. In this way, the intruder will not be able to log into yourWireless LAN system without entering the correct password. Then again, certainsystems or devices are preconfigured with default passwords.

Unfortunately, these passwords are often the manufacturer’sown name, because it is easy to remember although it lacks originality. We knowthat leaving a network unguarded with default passwords is the fool hardyoption. This is why we must customize all the access points and the wirelessrouter with our own unique passwords. Often we forget these passwords since wedo not need to use them on a regular basis. At this point there is no optionbut to revert back to the default settings to reenter your network. The onlyproblem is that all your time spent on customization will go to waste as thosechange are erased when default settings are applied.

Remember that the access points and the routers arespecifically configured to retain and protect vital information like the SSID(Service Identifier) and even the name of the Wireless LAN network. This systemmakes it difficult to identify our own network, but thankfully, it doesn’tcompromise the security. Without this elaborate masking system, you could beleaking away important details or clues that prove handy to outsiders withill-intentions.

Now we study the two types of encryption employed to securea Wireless LAN system. They are WEP or Wired Equivalency Privacy and the WPA orWiFi Protected Access. We know that the WEP system is widely used but it alsohas a sequence of easy to exploit weaknesses because of its poorly designedencryption software. On the other hand, there is the highly recommended WPAoption which reinforces your network while proving surprisingly easier to installand configure. One should note that unlike WEP, WPA is not inhibited by alimited number of password combinations as it explores the keyboard beyond thealphabets and number keys. There is a preloaded WPA support system within theWindows XP software package. WPA2 is the next generation WPA, which providesgreater security but relies on specially downloaded updates.

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